AN increasing number of Scots are living for more than a century, new figures have revealed.
There were estimated to be 850 people living in Scotland last year who had reached the 100-year milestone, up from 800 in 2012 and 530 a decade earlier.
The vast majority were women, who accounted for 720 (85 per cent) of Scotland’s centenarians, compared to 130 men.
The National Records of Scotland (NRS) came up with their estimates on the number of centenarians using information from the 2011 census.
The figures also showed that while more men are living into their 90s, almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of people aged 90 to 99 are women.
But the estimates suggest that the gap between men and women is starting to close.
NRS chief executive Tim Ellis said: “The number of centenarians living in Scotland has been steadily rising, from 530 in 2003 to 850 in 2013, which is a growth of 60 per cent.
“In 2013 there were 18 male centenarians per hundred female centenarians, an increase from 13 in 2003, indicating a narrowing of the gap in mortality between men and women for this age group.
“Estimates of the number of people aged 90 to 99 show relatively big increases between 2010 and 2012.
“This is partly due to births in the years following the First World War being much higher than in the preceding years.
“The number of births in 1920 was the highest since the introduction of national registration in 1855.”
Experts attribute the rise in the number of centenarians to increased survival rates as the result of improvements in hygiene, sanitation, medical treatment, housing and general living standards.
Since 2003, the number of centenarians relative to the rest of the population has increased, but there are still less than two centenarians for every 10,000 people.
The figures also estimated that there were 36,840 aged 90 to 99 in Scotland last year, compared to 26,620 in 2003.
UK-wide figures yesterday also revealed that the number of people who reach their 90th birthday has almost trebled over the last 30 years.
There are now more than half a million people - 527,240 - aged 90 and over living in the UK, making up 0.8 per cent of the total population, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
In 1983, for every 100,000 members of the public there were 322 people aged 90 and over, and by 2013 this had soared to 822 per 100,000 people in the UK.
“Improvements in mortality rates at older ages are due to a combination of factors such as improved medical treatments, housing and living standards, nutrition and changes in the population’s smoking habits,” the ONS said.
The ONS estimates on the numbers of “very old” people living in Britain also show a significant rise in the number of centenarians.
In 2013, the number of people aged 100 and over was 13,780, and 710 of these were estimated to be 105 or older.
Over the last 30 years the number of centenarians has more than quadrupled from the 1983 estimate of 3,040, the ONS said.
Over the last decade alone the number of people who live to 100 has increased by 71 per cent.